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GAME PREVIEW: Warriors Make Final Regular Season Trip To Vernon

PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek/Lisa Mazurek Photography

The West Kelowna Warriors look to end a five-game losing stretch away from home as they take on the Vernon Vipers at Kal Tire Place on Wednesday night.



Warriors vs. Vipers 2017/18 Schedule:

Saturday, October 28th @ Kal Tire Place (5-2 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 4th @ Kal Tire Place (5-3 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, November 15th @ Kal Tire Place (7:00 PM)

Saturday, November 25th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, January 16th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Friday, January 26th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

The Warriors and Vipers have played twice this season and will already finish off their regular season series at Kal Tire Place with this meeting on Wednesday night. The Vipers have won both of the games in the season series thus far with the latest being a 5-3 victory, stemming off of a Josh Prokop hat trick. Parm Dhaliwal scored twice in the game for the Warriors, including a shorthanded marker, while Stephen Kleysen added a goal on the power play but would not be enough offence in the losing effort. Cole Demers stopped 21 of the 25 shots he faced in the game for the loss.

West Kelowna comes into Wednesday night’s affair after their 6th straight victory at Royal LePage Place as they defeated the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon with a 4-3 win. Lucas Cullen, Chase Stevenson, Michael Lombardi and Jared Marino tallied in the win, with Marino’s 3rd period marker being the game winning goal. Cody Porter picked up his first win in his first start this season with the Warriors as he turned aside 34 of the 37 shots he faced in the game.

Warriors Leading Scorers:

Jared Marino (7-12-19)

Chase Dubois (9-8-17)

Parm Dhaliwal (5-12-17)

Michael Ryan (1-14-15)

Chase Stevenson (6-8-14)

Warriors head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster was busy on the weekend as The Tribe made a pair of trades ahead of Sunday’s matinee. West Kelowna acquired defenseman Spencer Hora from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in exchange for future considerations. Hora, 18, has registered one goal and 18 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes in 78 career BCHL games with the Silverbacks. The Kelowna, BC native is sitting out the fourth of his four-game suspension and will be available for action on Friday night when the Warriors host the Penticton Vees.

Captain Marino broke an eight-game stretch without a goal with his game-winning tally on Sunday and has had a flare for the spotlight when he scores this season. Of the 7 goals the Niagara Falls, Ontario native has scored, 4 of them have been game-winning markers which ties him for 1st place in the BCHL in that category, sharing the top spot with Levi Glasman (Trail Smoke Eaters), Jasper Weatherby (Wenatchee Wild) and Angus Crookshank (Langley Rivermen).

Playing away from Royal LePage Place has been something that has troubled the Warriors this season as they hold a 4-7-0-0 record away from home and have lost their last 5 games while on the road. The Warriors have been outscored 27-9 over that 5-game span and have surrendered 5 or more goals in each of their last 4 games away from home.

The Vernon Vipers come into Wednesday night’s contest with a 15-5-4-0 record and sit 2nd in the Interior Division, one point behind the Trail Smoke Eaters from the top spot in the division. The Vipers are coming off of a weekend home-and-home with the Penticton Vees where the two teams tied on Friday night in Penticton before a 4-1 loss for the Vipers on Saturday at home. Shane Kelly scored the lone goal in the game for Vernon while Anthony Yamnitsky turned aside 21 of the 25 shots he faced for his 4th loss of the season.

Vipers Leading Scorers:
Brett Stapley (14-19-33)

Jimmy Lambert (9-21-30)

Michael Ufberg (5-20-25)

Jagger Williamson (9-11-20)

Jordan Sandhu (8-11-19)

Vernon sits in 2nd in the BCHL in goals for with 91, nine behind the Trail Smoke Eaters (100) for top spot in the league. Brett Stapley has been a big part of that as the Denver University commit, recently having an 11-game point streak come to an end on Saturday night against the Vees. The Campbell River, BC native collected 19 of his 33 points on the season during that 11-game stretch.

The Vipers aren’t just a one-sided offensive team as they sit 3rd in the BCHL in goals against with 56 and are 1st in the league in goal differential at +35. Vernon netminders Anthony Yamnitsky and Ty Taylor have had strong seasons so far with Yamnitsky holding a goals against average of 2.16 (2nd in the BCHL) and Taylor owning a 2.29 GAA (5th in the BCHL). Yamnitsky has a .923 SV% on the season, good for 5th in the league while Taylor has the 7th-best save percentage in the BCHL at .916%.

Special teams could play a factor in this game with Vernon owning the 5th-best power play in the BCHL at 21.3% with the Warriors not far behind in 7th at 19.8% and have scored 5 PPG’s in their last 3 games. The Vipers penalty kill ranks 12th in the league at 80.3% while the Warriors penalty kill ranks 3rd at 84.3% and scored a shorthanded goal against the Vipers in the two teams last meeting.

The Warriors and Vipers drop the puck at 7:00 PM from Kal Tire Place in Vernon with the pre-game show airing live at 6:45 PM on the Warriors Internet Network and HockeyTV.com with the voice of the Warriors, Trevor Miller. West Kelowna returns back home to Royal LePage Place on Friday night as they host the Penticton Vees for the second time this season. Puck drop from RLP is set for 7:00 PM.